By Bryan Waters.
Manchester United U21s continued their good form with a 2-0 victory away at West Bromwich Albion, thanks to goals from Sean McGinty and substitute John Cofie.
The lively Adnan Januzaj burst away from the Albion defence and his low cross found McGinty at the back post, who tucked home for another reason for the Irish U21 international to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.
A second followed quickly from Cofie after a defensive lapse from West Brom. Lindegaard’s long ball was not dealt with and the 20 year old tucked into the bottom corner.
West Brom have just scored five goals in the elite stage of the U21 Premier League, with those coming from a combination of Adil Nabi and Kemar Roofe. United’s defensive record is impressive in recent weeks, with Warren Joyce’s men now five games without conceding a goal, and the threat of Nabi was quashed by United’s central defensive pairing of Tom Thorpe and Michele Fornasier.
Until Cofie’s introduction, United’s attack suffered and for all the possession, the lack of a recognised striker hindered the progress of Januzaj and Larnell Cole. Cofie, who has spent time at Sheffield United and Notts County on loan this season, replaced Tyler Blackett with 20 minutes to go, which moved the Belgian U21 international Januzaj into a deeper role on the right and he caused chaos for the Albion backline.
A relatively sedate game until the two goals, the main talking point, aside from the goals, came in the middle of the second half. Januzaj ran at the defence and was brought down just outside the area. The referee and his assistant crossed wires over the correct decision, with the referee initially pointing to the spot for a penalty kick. After deliberation, and complaints from the Albion backline, Neil Radford changed his mind and awarded United a freekick, something assistant manager Nicky Butt was visibly displeased around.
A great chance fell for Charni Ekangamene just before the goal, who has the reputation of being a midfield workhorse instead of a goalscorer. Januzaj, Cole and Cofie combined to find the midfielder, who checked onto his right foot and curled an effort past the hapless Myhill, but off the crossbar.
The two late goals took the wind out of West Brom’s sails and United saw the game clear, moving closer to runaway league leaders Tottenham Hotspur. A nasty injury occurred late to Albion defender Donervon Daniels, who clashed heads with Cofie, but he was able to walk off the field and did not look seriously distressed.
Man of the match: Adnan Januzaj – Showed touches of class all game and created the majority of the opportunities for United, including an assist for McGinty’s goal.
WBA: Myhill, Atkinson, Daniels (Francis 90), Jones, Smart, Roofe, Birch, Allan, Brown (Wedderburn (S. Nabi 80) 53). Sawyers, A. Nabi. (Subs: Lewis, Pace)
United: Lindegaard, Vermijl, Fornasier, Thorpe, McGinty, Cole, Veseli, Ekangamene, Blackett (Cofie 69). Lingard (McCullough 90), Januzaj (Lawrence 87). (Subs: Gollini, Daehli)
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